From left to right, Redmond High’s 200-yard medley relay team of freshman Michelle Chen (backstroke), sophomore Catherine Yu (breaststroke), sophomore Andrea Wu (butterfly) and senior captain Jamesyn Gray (freestyle) splashed into their first meet of the season on Sept. 19 with a state-qualifying time of 1:52.52 (the WIAA automatic state-qualifying time is 1:53.50). Yu also qualified for state in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:11.68. Redmond defeated Juanita, 105-59. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Skinner-Gray

From left to right, Redmond High’s 200-yard medley relay team of freshman Michelle Chen (backstroke), sophomore Catherine Yu (breaststroke), sophomore Andrea Wu (butterfly) and senior captain Jamesyn Gray (freestyle) splashed into their first meet of the season on Sept. 19 with a state-qualifying time of 1:52.52 (the WIAA automatic state-qualifying time is 1:53.50). Yu also qualified for state in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:11.68. Redmond defeated Juanita, 105-59. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Skinner-Gray

Redmond swimmers notch state-qualifying times

‘It’s like pure instinct.’

Redmond High sophomore Catherine Yu said that when she dives into the pool, her body takes care of everything.

“It’s like pure instinct. You swim how you swim, and whatever the outcome is, you have to accept it,” she added prior to practice on Monday afternoon at Strattonwood Pool in Redmond.

So far, the results have been stellar for Yu, including 4A state-qualifying times in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:05.58), 200-yard individual medley (2:11.68) and as part of the 200-yard medley relay (1:52.52) with senior captain Jamesyn Gray, sophomore Andrea Wu and freshman Michelle Chen, who has also notched a state time of 1:00.09 in the 100-yard backstroke.

In the relays, the girls are a well-prepared crew and know they’re ready to make an impact, Yu said.

“I think it’s just the relays are a lot of fun. We’re just hyping each other up and we’re just getting really excited and just trying to get out there and race other people,” she said.

Gray anchored the relay with her freestyle, and followed Wu’s butterfly, Yu’s breaststroke and Chen’s backstroke.

“I was focused on a good send-off, so making sure I left as soon as Andrea touched the wall. My biggest thing when I’m swimming freestyle is to focus on not breathing because it’s a sprint. It’s a 50 down and back, so I don’t really need to breathe,” she said.

The relay hit its state time to kick off the Mustangs’ first meet of the season on Sept. 19 against Juanita, which fell to Redmond, 105-59. Since Redmond doesn’t have any divers on its squad, Gray said the Mustangs start their meets down by 13 points.

In preparation for meet one, Gray said the girls benefited from an extra week of practices at Strattonwood, which is their outdoor training facility while Hartman Pool is undergoing renovations. The Mustangs’ home base for meets is the Juanita Aquatics Center.

“I think we all kind of feel the pressure (that) we have to do well every single meet, we have to place well in order to make up those points. Getting the state cut was very exciting. None of us were planning for that. We were just like, ‘We just gotta win this,’ and getting that was an added bonus,” Gray said.

Chen is an experienced club swimmer and was excited to dip her toes into the high-school scene this fall. She enjoys the Mustangs’ team spirit and bonding with the girls.

Earning state times adds a nice touch to the scenario as well.

“It was pretty cool. I was really happy,” said Chen, noting that she would like to make a few more state cuts and drop some times as her inaugural prep season continues.

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